Plan your Christmas presents
Christmas is not about expensive gifts. Christmas is not about going into debt or breaking your budget so to keep gift costs down, it's worth planning your gift-buying strategy and making some of your own presents.
Finding gifts people really want and cutting the stress of Christmas shopping are two great reasons to plan your Christmas gift strategy in advance. There's another great reason to plan your presents - it will save you a fortune. Here are a few tips to make Christmas gift planning less stressful.
Make a list and check it twice
Don't ever go gift shopping without a list. Ever, ever, ever. You will more than likely buy more than you intended. Use our Christmas gift planner the people for whom you're buying, jot down a few gift ideas next to their name, and cross them off when their gift is purchased. Keep this list with you at all times.
Decide your family's gift limits
We all like to go overboard and splash out on great presents for our own kids, but some families find it useful to let kids know in advance what to expect for Christmas - one or two big presents and some stocking stuffers - or are you are 10 presents for every child kind of parent? It helps to shape some kind of limits so you don't bankrupt the family and end up having to deliver impoverished birthday presents come the new year.
At what point do you stop buying presents for a large extended family? Perhaps you can suggest a reasonable cost limit for this year. Another way to save money is to suggest drawing names out of a hat and and doing the Kris Kringle style of gift-giving so one person simply buys for one other - everyone will still receive a gift and you might just end up with something decent rather than lots of small gifts you never wanted anyway.
Within your own family, don't forget to set gift limits with your partner (there's no point in you buying each other presents you don't want or need). It can also help to broach the Christmas present topic with your friends and set limits in advance so you don't suffer the embarrassment of receiving a generous gift from a friend you haven't bought anything for.
- A homemade gift created specifically for someone is a genuine treasure. Think food gifts , crafts , an mp3 playlist, or a task like babysitting. Melissa Klemke has created some cheap and easy home-made gift ideas, including:
- Make your own Christmas cake to give
- Christmas shortbread biscuits
- Create a gorgeous diary cover
- Make a cheap and easy tin for home made biscuits
Try other easy and inspirational craft ideas:
- Cute cupcakes to make and bake
- Have the kids colour in some Christmas scenes to give to family and friends
Be inspired by Kidspot's Christmas craft ideas, including:
- Make your own Christmas cards
- Make a cute wall advent calendar
- Make personalised gift wrap
- Create cheap and easy food gifts from your kitchen
Go Christmas shopping online
When you shop online, you avoid the crowds, it's easier to stick within your budget (no enticing last-minute purchases), and you have endless options.
A great online place to click and shop is Etsy , a sprawling international craft site that has hand-crafted ideas and you can easily spend hours browsing as each gift bought is unique. If you don't want to bother with paying the postage from overseas Etsy suppliers, head to the NZ Etsy site and buy from local crafters.
Amazon is so easy to buy a gift from, that it's ridiculous. You can use the UK site for European friends or the American site for those in North America. If you want cheaper books though, try Book Depository which promises free worldwide shipping. Mighty Ape have a phenomenal variety of gift ideas with quick delivery and great service. To find a great bargain, there's always good old TradeMe.
Find more Christmas on a budget tips:
- Start your plan to save money this Christmas
- Make a Christmas budget
- Plan your gift-buying strategy
- Christmas menu planning to stay sane (and on budget)
- How to wrap presents without breaking the budget
- Have a merry, frugal Christmas